Robert Beck, who called him­self Ice­berg Slim, has been a mas­sive in­flu­ence on the hip-hop world. His 1969 au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, Pimp: The Story Of My Life, cod­i­fied an emerg­ing un­der­world life­style, and his sub­se­quent works ex­plored and con­fronted African-Amer­i­can cul­ture in a way few oth­ers did at the time.

Two decades after Slim’s death, his life and legacy are ex­plored in a new doc­u­men­tary, Ice­berg Slim: Por­trait Of A Pimp, mak­ing its world premiere at TIFF. It’s a labour of love for di­rec­tor Jorge Hi­no­josa and his ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer, Ice-T, who joined our con­fer­ence call from the New York set of Law & Or­der: Spe­cial Vic­tims Unit. Jorge, you’ve been Ice-T’s man­ager for nearly three decades. How did you two end up mak­ing a doc­u­men­tary about Ice­berg Slim? JORGE HI­NO­JOSA When I first met Ice, I was still a teenager. I read those books and they just to­tally blew my mind. [ They] ex­posed me to a world that I was to­tally un­aware of. It was shock­ing, but at the same time it was re­ally cap­ti­vat­ing. It puts you in this trance.

ICE-T At some point, Jorge just came up with, “I wanna do a story of the life of Ice­berg Slim,” be­cause a lot of peo­ple don’t know about it. So he started to dig and dig and dig, and he came up with this tremen­dous movie. I’m in­ter­viewed in it, but it’s pretty much Jorge’s di­rec­to­rial de­but. I’m very proud of it. Jorge, what sur­prised you most while re­search­ing Slim? JH He re­ally un­der­played his crim­i­nal life. He talks about be­ing ar­rested and stuff like that, but when I looked at his record, he was ar­rested 11 times be­fore the age of 21. That was pretty shock­ing. And com­ing to grips with the time pe­riod he grew up in... I mean, he grew up in Chicago, the most cor­rupt city in Amer­ica, dur­ing the worst race ri­ots in Amer­i­can his­tory. He re­ally was kinda born in the fire, as it were. ICE-T When I started rap­ping, I named my­self after Ice­berg Slim. There’s a tremen­dous amount of sim­i­lar­i­ties in our lives. He didn’t start to write books and I didn’t start to make records un­til we had got­ten out of crime. He has this epiphany that lets him know that what he was do­ing was pretty much wrong, and he goes out and starts to speak to kids and try to ex­plain to peo­ple that although th­ese books might seem like they’re pro­mot­ing the crim­i­nal life­style, re­ally they’re a warn­ing against it. Just like my mu­sic. ICE-T Ab­so­lutely. As re­pul­sive as some of the things you hear in the movie are, you want to hear more.

Robert Beck (aka Ice­berg Slim) had a huge in­flu­ence on hip-hop cul­ture.

Ice­berg Slim: Por­trait Of A Pimp, di­rected by Jorge Hi­no­josa. Septem­ber 8, 6 pm, Cine­plex Yonge & Dundas 7; Septem­ber 9, 9 am, Bloor; Septem­ber 16, 4 pm, Sco­tia­bank 1.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.